A study from the University of Miami called “Health Effects of Energy Drinks on Children, Adolescents and Young Adults” was published in the journal Pediatrics and claims that energy drinks may put kids’ health at risk.
The study concluded that energy drinks "have no therapeutic benefit to children, and both the known and unknown properties of the ingredients, combined with reports of toxicity, may put some children at risk for adverse health events."
Based on the study, about 50 percent of those falling in the energy drink market are adolescents, and 50 percent of these adolescents consume energy drinks.
Stimulants such as caffeine, taurine and guarana are used in energy drinks, but no safe amount of consumption has been determined for kids.
Most energy drinks, according to the study, have 70 to 80 milligrams of caffeine for every 8 oz. serving, double the dose than in most soda drinks.
The study also reports that excessive consumption of energy drinks can lead to stroke, seizures, and even sudden death.
Those coming from the drinks industry, such as Dr. Maureen Storey, senior vice president of science policy for the American Beverage Association, however, contest the validity of these claims. “This literature review does nothing more than perpetuate misinformation about energy drinks, their ingredients and the regulatory process.”
Says lead author of the study, Steven Lipshultz, "…we didn't see evidence that drinks have beneficial effects in improving energy, weight loss, stamina, athletic performance and concentration."
Kids, especially those with diabetes, seizures, health problems, and mood or behavior disorders such as ADHD are at even greater risk.
Adds Lipshultz, "Mixing other drugs with these drinks, could lead to a host of other complications. The problem is, a lot of young people don't realize what's in these drinks and the combinations could be serious, even deadly."
The researchers are urging pediatricians to help raise awareness about the side effects of energy drinks to patients, especially parents and their kids. "There needs to be awareness by pediatricians and the public of the possible effects of energy drinks, especially in the vulnerable populations," Lipshultz stressed.
SOURCES: • Brian Hamacher. February 14, 2011. “UM Study Says Energy Drinks Pose Serious Risks to Kids” NBCMiami.com < > • February 15, 2011. “Experts warn against energy drinks” PressTV.Ir • Summer. February 15, 2011. “Energy Drinks Not Healthy for Kids” GrowingYourBaby.com